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Panthers’ QB Cam Newton named one of world’s most famous athletes

Panthers QB Cam Newton, seen at mini-camp Tuesday, was named one of the world’s 100 most famous athletes by ESPN
Panthers QB Cam Newton, seen at mini-camp Tuesday, was named one of the world’s 100 most famous athletes by ESPN dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

A year ago, ESPN debuted its list of the 100 most famous athletes in the world. It recently released its second annual “World Fame 100” ranking.

To get there, the Worldwide Leader used a formula that combined endorsements, social media and internet search popularity.

For the second straight year, Cam Newton is inside the top 50. Newton checks in at No. 47 this year. He was No. 32 a year ago.

No. 1 is soccer’s Cristiano Ronaldo. No. 2 is the NBA’s Lebron James. Kevin Durant, who will face James in Thursday’s NBA Finals Game 1, is No. 8. Troubled golfer Tiger Woods is No. 10 and Charlotte’s Steph Curry is No. 11.

Other athletes with Carolina ties ranked are Winston-Salem-native Chris Paul of the NBA (51) and NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr (69), who attended high school in Mooresville.

Among NFL players, only Tom Brady ranks ahead of Newton.

ESPN said Newton did $12 million worth of endorsements over the past year and has more than six million total social media followers.

“Newton is a quarterback in the body of a linebacker, the likes of which pro football hasn’t seen before,” Newton’s section reads. “His combination of speed, strength and ability to make dynamic plays with both his arm and his legs makes him one of the NFL’s most exciting players.”

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